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IPL vs Laser Hair Removal


Choosing a permanent hair removal procedure is much more complicated with the variety of solutions available today. Patients must weigh the pros and cons between IPL (intense pulsed light) and different methods of laser hair removal, to determine which treatment will meet their individual needs the best. We have the basics of each of these hair removal procedures to help you find the best treatment for you.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal was the first to replace electrolysis for many hair removal patients, offering a less painful, faster and more effective solution. Laser procedures require multiple sessions to achieve complete hair removal, but in many cases the results are considered permanent. There are a variety of lasers used for this purpose, to help patients and doctors customize a treatment to a patient's hair color and skin tone for best results.

The benefits of laser hair removal are numerous, and include:

  • Permanent hair reduction is seen in most patients, after the recommended number of treatment sessions
  • The procedure is not as painful as treatments like electrolysis or waxing
  • Treatment can be done on larger areas, like the legs and back
  • Hair that comes in after treatment is often finer and lighter in color
  • A variety of lasers allow doctors to customize a treatment to a patients specific skin tone and hair color

While there are a number of benefits that laser hair removal offers, there are some drawbacks as well, including:

  • Multiple treatments will be needed to achieve desired results
  • Laser hair removal may not be a good choice for those with darker skin tones, since the risk of burning or skin damage is higher
  • Laser hair removal doesn't usually work on hair without pigmentation, such as white or red hair shades

IPL Hair Removal

A relative newcomer to the hair removal scene is IPL, or intense pulsed light. Like laser hair removal, IPL uses a specific light beam to target hair follicles, causing permanent damage to the follicle so that hair cannot grow back. While this is similar to the method used in laser hair removal, the light used for the process is safer for a wider variety of skin types than some of the laser lights used for the same purpose.

Some of the advantages to IPL hair removal treatments include:

  • The light beam may be safe for a wider spectrum of skin tones and hair colors than some other types of lasers
  • The FDA has approved IPL for permanent hair reduction
  • IPL hair removal may be more cost effective than laser treatments, because there is less time involved
  • There is less risk of skin damage from an IPL treatment than laser hair removal
  • IPL lends itself well to larger areas of hair removal
  • IPL is reported as less painful than laser hair removal by many patients

There are also a few drawbacks to IPL hair removal, including:

  • The treatment has not been used as long for hair removal, so long term effects of IPL have not been documented
  • There may not be as many practitioners experienced in IPL as in laser hair removal procedures
  • Multiple sessions of IPL will be required to achieve desired results
  • Some patients still report a level of discomfort during IPL procedures
  • Skin damage can occur, particularly if the practitioner is not experienced or trained properly in the procedure

Which hair removal procedure is the right choice for you? It depends on the laser clinic you choose, your skin tone and the color of your hair. You will also need to choose based on the number of sessions you want to schedule and the level of pain you are comfortable with. Learn more today about the pros and cons of IPL hair removal and laser hair removal by scheduling your free consultation with a hair removal specialist near you!

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